Students, parents and staff joined MLAs, VSB's official trustee and district in an announcement last week to celebrate the official opening of a seismically safe replacement school for General Gordon Elementary in Kitsilano.
The new school is a modern three-storey building that can accommodate 38 kindergarten and 373 elementary students in grades 1-7. The design and open learning spaces throughout the school support B.C.'s new curriculum. It includes two kindergarten classrooms, sixteen classrooms for grades 1-7 and features:
- a Neighbourhood Learning Centre that provides space for a music program;
- a multi-purpose area with a kitchen;
- a flexible performance space; and,
- an improved library.
The replacement project included demolishing the 104-year-old school and building the new school on the same site with the main entrance on Bayswater Street. The project started in 2014 and was complete on schedule in September.
"The minute I walked into my school I thought, 'Wow, this is my school? Am I dreaming?'", said Maya Abraham, a grade 5 student. "It is good to have an earthquake-safe school too. I want to know that I am safe when I am at school and all these new safety additions ensure that."
The opening celebrations were led by MLA Sam Sullivan and MLA Andrew Wilkinson, on behalf of Education Minister Mike Bernier, with VSB Official Trustee Dianne Turner. After some remarks by officials, princial Margaret Davidson and Gordon's PAC co-chairs, the group was entertained by a musical performance by grade 7 student Francis Sadleir. Then Maya, Francis and grade 5 student Vicky Stephens toured district and govenment officials around the new school. Ms. Turner even took a turn reading a story to a grade three class.
"This beautiful new school is not only seismically safe, but is a highly functional building that helps the General Gordon Elementary community achieve one of its guiding principles, to 'be a place where people enjoy spending their time,'" said Turner. "Getting all Vancouver School Board students into safe learning environments remains a priority for VSB, and I'm happy to celebrate the success of this seismic mitigation project."
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